Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Netflix’s new Margaret Atwood adaptation looks just as good as The Handmaid’s Tale

netflix-margaret-atwood-alias-grace-adaptation-new-trailer.jpg

If your evenings haven’t felt quite the same since the end of the first series of The Handmaid’s Tale, you’re in luck. A new Margaret Atwood adaptation is set to launch on Netflix soon – and if the first full trailer is anything to go by, it’s going to be just as gripping (and terrifying) as THT.

Alias Grace is an upcoming six-hour miniseries based on Atwood’s 1996 historical novel of the same name, which tells the story of a young woman convicted of murder in 18th century Canada. Until now we’d only seen a glimpse of the Netflix adaptation in a short teaser clip, but the brutal new trailer gives a more in-depth look at what’s in store.

Unlike The Handmaid’s Tale, which is set in the US in an imagined future, Alias Grace takes place in the past, and is even more heavily inspired by true events. The central character in the novel and miniseries is Grace Marks, a poor Irish immigrant to Canada who was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery.

Kinnear and Montgomery were found dead at his home in Ontario in 1843. Marks, then just 16 years old, had recently been fired from her job as a maid in Kinnear’s household, after Montgomery (who was also Kinnear’s mistress) became jealous of her. This appeared to give Marks a motive, and she was found guilty of the murders alongside Irish stable hand James McDermott.

Marks, McDermott, Kinnear and Montgomery were all real people, and Marks and McDermott really were convicted of the latter pair’s murders. However, Atwood also incorporated fictional characters into her story. The most significant of these is Simon Jordan, a doctor who sets out to research Marks’ case.


Read more: 12 powerful dystopian novels that every woman should read


In the trailer for Netflix’s adaptation of Alias Grace, Dr Jordan (Edward Holcroft) is seen visiting Marks in prison, where she has been held for 15 years.

“If there’s been a crime, people want a guilty person,” explains Marks, played by Canadian actress Sarah Gadon. “Rightly or wrongly does not matter.”

x

Sarah Gadon will star Grace Marks in Netflix’s adaptation of Alias Grace, while Anna Paquin will play murdered housekeeper Nancy Montgomery.

Atwood herself has said that one of the central purposes of Alias Grace is to interrogate how society views and treats women suspected of a crime. Dr Jordan struggles to reconcile the mild-mannered, pretty young woman he meets in prison with the image of a violent killer, and puzzles over whether to believe her claim that she cannot remember anything about the day of the murders.


Read more: The real-life events that inspired The Handmaid’s Tale


“When there are crimes of violence, involving both a man and a woman, it usually goes as follows: nobody ever says the man is a nice guy, but opinion often splits about the woman,” Atwood said in 1996, shortly after Alias Grace was first published.

“Either she’s the villainous instigator of it all, or else she’s a terrified victim and she only did it because she was frightened for her life. That’s the pattern with Grace. And there's evidence supporting both sides.”

The miniseries – which will span across three decades – is written and produced by Sarah Polley, and directed by Mary Harron. It will be broadcast globally on Netflix on 3 November.

Images: Netflix / Rex Features

Related

elisabeth moss handmaids tale.jpg

A second series of The Handmaid’s Tale has been confirmed

samira-wiley-friendship-margaret-atwood-handmaids-tale.jpg

Samira Wiley and Margaret Atwood’s friendship sounds perfect

VAN_SARKI_GUARDIAN_ELIZABETH_MOSS_1 (fafc0441acf447e167776db37674462a01ab1605) cropped.jpg

Elisabeth Moss: “Now is the time for cold, hard action”

More

Students told to submit dresses for approval ahead of school dance

“These are the roots of rape culture, frankly”

by Amy Swales
19 Sep 2017

Woman finally approaches rush-hour crush, ends up marrying him

She waited a year for him to notice her – and then she took matters into her own hands

by Kayleigh Dray
19 Sep 2017

Dreaming of buying a French Bulldog? Read this first

The secret cost of that Instagram-perfect pup

by Amy Swales
19 Sep 2017

Cookie dough fans, your perfect store is coming to London

We HAVE to try the cookie dough clouds

by Megan Murray
19 Sep 2017

Hilarious Instagram account fulfills all our eavesdropping dreams

‘Overheard London’ documents the capital's weirdest conversations – ever

by Kayleigh Dray
19 Sep 2017

This guy has a creative way of helping his girlfriend’s depression

His post has stolen the hearts of the online community

by Susan Devaney
19 Sep 2017

Love Actually is getting a musical makeover for Christmas

It involves a live orchestra

by Amy Swales
19 Sep 2017

A Hillary Clinton-inspired Nasty Women exhibition has arrived

Because if the US election taught us anything, it’s that misogyny is still rife

by Susan Devaney
19 Sep 2017

Uber forced to apologise for sexist ‘Wife Appreciation Day’ message

“Thank you, Uber, for defining gender roles.”

by Moya Crockett
19 Sep 2017

These 24 baby names are at risk of going extinct in 2017

Experts have claimed that these once-beloved baby names are “endangered”

by Kayleigh Dray
19 Sep 2017